The ideal habits for working from home
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The ideal habits for working from home
Stay productive from the comfort of your own home

Times are changing...

Working from home is becoming an increasingly popular option that is embraced by both employees and employers. It makes sense when considering the associated savings, increased productivity and the increased employee retention. In fact, the number of people who work from home has increased by 140% since 2005__¹__.

Working from Home 3

Working from home is nothing less than an art form. Those who have mastered the art have a few tricks up their sleeve so that they can enjoy the comfort of their home and remain productive at the same time. Let’s take a look at some of these.

Getting into "work mode"

The first and most obvious one is a designated workspace. While working from your bed or sofa is fine, your brain tends to associate those with rest rather than work. So, it is highly likely that you won’t be in “work-mode” if that is where you chose. This will take some trial and error because you have to find a space that is comfortable but at the same time minimises distractions and maximises productivity. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a home office (that isn’t feasible in small spaces), but perhaps a desk at one end of the room or the corner of the kitchen counter with a laptop. To learn more about the ideal home office setup, click here.

When you’re at home, it can be hard to build a routine because the boundaries between work and home blend. So, it is crucial to set a routine for yourself. Try to get up at the same time every day and start work at the same time every day. Similarly, end work at the same time too unless it is something urgent and schedule regular breaks for meals or just to stretch your legs so you can remain active even if you’re stuck at home all day. This is another reason it’s essential to separate your workspace so that you have a place to go when you’re taking a break. Developing a routine like this is difficult at work, let alone while working from home, because the world is now connected, and employers can reach us at any time. Be sure to set boundaries.

While you’re setting up a routine, one important thing you can add at the start of every day is to compile a list of tasks for the day. When you’re not at the office, it can be hard to know what is urgent or the flow of tasks. So try to have a short conversation with your manager at the start of each day to share progress and get updates. Once you know where you are at, prioritise tasks according to urgency. This will allow you to focus on essential tasks first and reduce the stress associated with overburdening. At day’s end, take a look back at your list and see how much you were able to cover, and this can help you evaluate your performance and set expectations for subsequent days. Don’t forget to reward yourself now and then for a job well done!

Another trick to get yourself into a productive mindset is to dress the part. Even though you will be at home, still make an effort to get up and get dressed as if you’re going to work. Psychologically, what you see in the mirror can affect productivity. If you see yourself in pyjamas as someone who is unkempt, it can instil a notion that you are not ready to face the challenges of the day. Conversely, when you see yourself dressed for success, it can inspire productivity. And it doesn’t hurt that you look more professional in the plethora of video calls you may need to attend.

You're not alone

Working from home can often be isolating and is, in fact, the second biggest issue remote workers face after unplugging after work__²__. Chronic loneliness has also been shown to produce a similar mortality risk to smoking 15 cigarettes a day__³__. So try and be more involved than you would be if you were at the office. This means joining those morning meetings you always dreaded, participating in the group chat and being available for help when you are needed. And just because you don’t go to the office, doesn’t mean that you can’t join the after-work hangouts of the team.

Distraction-free zone

Now when it comes to getting down to the actual work, there will be distractions just like there are at the office, whether its family, pets, neighbours or even some hardware malfunction in the house. This is another reason it was necessary to sort out your workspace beforehand. The next step is to communicate openly with your family. Talk to your family about your designated work zone and your work hours – tell them you are not to be disturbed during those hours unless it is an emergency. Needless to say, it not professional if you’re on a video call with your boss, and your child is screaming in the background for your attention. Besides, you will be taking breaks just like at the office, so there will be ample time for chatting or playing with your pet.

It’s not easy to find the perfect way to work from home. It requires a little dedication and a few new habits. There may be some embarrassing moments or a few bumps along the road, but it could be worthwhile to find a solution so you can spend more time doing what you love, from the comfort of your own home.

¹"Latest Remote Work Statistics – Global Workplace Analytics". 2019.

²"State Of Remote Work 2019". 2019. Buffer.Com.

__³__Schuzle, Hannah. 2018. Harvard Science In The News.

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